Arkansas Holds Off Late SMS Rally For 7-4 Vict
BY ANDRES FOCIL
SPRINGFIELD, MO. – After jumping out to a 7-1 lead, the Arkansas Razorbacks had to hold off a fierce ninth-inning rally by Southwest Missouri State to come away with a 7-4 victory in Springfield Wednesday night.
Arkansas improved to 15-11 with the victory, while SMS dropped to 16-5. Arkansas starter Scott Woods earned the victory to up his record to 3-0 after throwing 2.1 innings of scoreless ball and giving up just four hits.
Brian Keating took the loss to fall to 1-1 after allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits in four innings of work.
The Razorbacks got on the board with two outs in the top of the second inning. Catcher Cody Clark drew a walk and came around to score on Scott Hode’s double off the wall to left-center. The hit extended Hode’s hitting streak to six games.
Arkansas added two more runs in the third inning. Kirk McConnell began the inning with a single up the middle. Cliff Crouse bunted for a single, but the throw by the SMS first baseman was wild and allowed McConnell to score from first and allowed Crouse to go to third. Crouse scored on a fielding error by the shortstop on a hard liner by Michael Conner to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 advantage.
Arkansas starter Scott Woods pitched the first two and one-third innings, giving up four hits. Woods worked out of a pair jams as SMS had two runners on in the first and second innings. Woods gave up a hit and hit a batter to put two on with one out in the bottom of the third before being relieved by Layne Berry.
Berry got Greg Mathis on a strikeout and Tony Piazza to ground out to end the inning.
After stranding six runners through three innings, SMS finally got on the scoreboard. With two on and one out in the bottom of the fourth, Berry threw to third on a pick-off attempt but Brett Hagedorn booted the throw allowing Randyn Saner to score to cut the lead to 3-1.
Ryan Fox increased the Razorback lead to 5-1 with a two-run homer run on an 0-2 pitch to left-center with Conner aboard. It was Fox’s sixth home run of the year.
Josh Merryman relieved Berry in the fifth inning and pitched two innings of one-hit ball. Merryman struck out two before being pulled for Jonathan Richmond in the seventh inning.
In the eighth inning, Scott Hode plated another run for the Razorbacks when he doubled home Clark (hit-by-pitch) to give the Razorbacks a 6-1 lead. After a passed ball moved Hode to third, Jeff Fletcher brought Hode in with a sacrifice fly to left for a 7-1 lead.
Clint Brannon, the fifth Arkansas pitcher of the night, relieved Richmond in the ninth. Richmond exited the game going two innings allowing one hit with no strikeouts or walks.
In the ninth, Shaun Marcum tripled to right-center to score Clay Wheeler to make it a 7-2 game. Marcum came in to score on a single through the left side by Brooks Colvin to cut the lead to 7-3.
With two on and no outs in the ninth, Kyler Pomeroy came in for Brannon who gave up two runs on two hits. Pomeroy then forced Matt Gardner to hit into a double play to stem the SMS rally. The Bears plated another run when Brinkley singled up the middle to score Colvin to make it a 7-4 game. Pomerory the got Isenhower to fly out to center for the final out of the game and preserve the 7-4 victory.
Arkansas returns to Baum Stadium to take on No. 4 South Carolina this weekend. Game one of the series begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
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